As part of our Christmas tradition when our daughter was young, we read the story of the Nutcracker. It was one of the books our daughter kept over the years and brought into her own family.
Sylvie wasn’t two when Claire started reading the story of Clara and her Christmas dream/adventures. When she saw the video of the ballet, Sylvie was hooked. One day, as she watched the video, her grandfather attempted to engage her in conversation about the various characters and Sylvie commented, “I want to watch it by myself.” Poppy stopped talking!
Caitlin met Clara and the cast via book and video as well. Meanwhile, at three, Sylvie joined ballet, and has enjoyed it for four years. Caitlin joined at three as well.
Their parents discovered that Casse-Noisette, Nutcracker, was performed by a ballet school in Moncton, New Brunswick, before Christmas every year. Moncton is across the Confederation Bridge but less than two hours from home. The family has seen the performance for four years now. From the beginning, the girls paid rapt attention. It is an important part of their Christmas tradition.
This year, their grandfather and I had the opportunity to go with the children and Claire to Moncton. Poppy stayed with eighteen month old Owen, while the girls took in the ballet. It was such fun!
The dancers were wonderful, from the tiniest mice to the oldest parents! The costumes and sets were so colourful and well done, each a perfect representation of the part and the setting. The small orchestra, a first for the show which previously featured recorded music, filled the theatre with its big sound.
Those familiar musical phrases of Tchaikovsky came to life. The piece, Opus 71, was written for ballet and first performed in 1892. Imagine all the people who have watched the ballet and listened to that glorious music in that time!
Our girls were enchanted as were the adults! I couldn’t help but wonder how many future generations will fall under the spell of Nutcracker.